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Hotels in Cienfuegos, Cuba

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Best hotels in Cienfuegos

Known throughout Cuba as the Pearl of the South, Cienfuegos is an elegant Cuban port city with a decidedly French ambience. It was founded 2 centuries ago by immigrants from Bordeaux, who were encouraged here to help displace the local pirates and brigands. With its wide, palm-lined boulevards, graceful architecture, and dramatic bay-side setting, Cienfuegos is a Cuban city with a difference. But despite its Francophile leanings, it’s also a city Cubans are proud to call their own—especially as it’s famed as the birthplace of Benny Moré, Cuba’s master of mambo and supremo of son.

Things to see in Cienfuegos

Visitors to Cienfuegos are naturally drawn to Pueblo Nuevo, the French-inspired half of the city. The central plaza, Parque José Martí, is overlooked by some of its most exquisite buildings, including the impressive dome and gray colonnades of the Palacio de Gobierno, and the lemon-colored towers of the Catedral de la Purísima Concepción. It also hosts a statue of José Martí, the famed 19th-century Cuban revolutionary. Take a walk south along the broad Paseo El Prado and you’ll discover the bay-fronting palacios of Punta Gorda, showing a different side to this fascinating city. This is where Cuba’s pre-revolutionary elite built their mansions, none more impressive than the Palacio de Valle. Its ornate frontage echoes the Moorish elegance of the Alhambra. A trip across the bay to the Castillo de Jagua reveals an 18th-centrury Spanish fort, complete with dungeons, drawbridge, and stunning views back to Cienfuegos.

Hotels in Cienfuegos

While central Cienfuegos presents a refined front, it hasn’t quite developed the range of hotels found in other Cuban cities. That said, the few luxury hotels in Cienfuegos have a charm and friendliness of their own. There are many quality boutique hotels in Cienfuegos’s pretty townhouse mansions, too. These are often exquisitely well presented, while still offering modern amenities like air-con or WiFi. The city is also renowned for its B&B-style establishments where you’ll find the best Cienfuegos hotel rates—as well as great advice on making the most of the Pearl of the South.

Where to stay in Cienfuegos

Many of the more intriguing hotels in Cienfuegos are found in Pueblo Nuevo, close to the Parque José Martí. Stay in one of these and you’ll be close to the main attractions. Further to the east, on the other side of the Paseo El Prado, is La Juanita. This district is home to the city’s train and bus stations, and is a good base for travelers on a budget, with many accommodation options in its side streets. If you want to enjoy views onto the Bahia de Cienfuegos, Punta Gorda, at the southern end of El Prado, is undoubtedly the best choice.

How to get to Cienfuegos

It’s possible to reach Cienfuegos, some 160 miles southeast of Havana, via international flights, if you can book a charter from Miami or Canada to Jaime González International Airport, as there are no domestic flights here. There is, however, a slow train from the capital every other day. And there’s plenty of choice for bus travel to Cienfuegos, with Viazul running routes from Havana, Varadero, Santa Clara, and Trinidad. Both the latter cities are less than 2 hours’ drive away by car. The city center itself is walkable, but horse-drawn taxis and bike taxis make the journey from Pueblo Nuevo to Punta Gorda quicker and easier.